Local group petitions against RVC technology center airport location

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Rock Valley College Trustees could now build the new Advanced Technology Center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport instead of downtown.

One location RVC leaders considered was placing the center downtown in the Rockford Register Star building. Now supporters of the downtown campus launched an online petition against the airport possibility.

Leaders of the grassroots coalition say they want to increase higher education in Rockford's urban core. "The airport space doesn't have all of the amenities that the downtown has," says River District Association's Sandi Kohn. "It doesn't have the activity or the vibrancy. It's just a location where it's easy to erect a facility, but it's not easy to erect a campus."

The campaign is called "Put our College Where it Counts." Organizers are concerned there is no official, disclosed plan for the airport.

"Our conversation has been aimed at expanding the dialogue," says former CEO of the Rockford Housing Authority Ron Clewer. "So we have this potential that the college may make a decision on where to place the ATC without significant public input. And what we're saying is let's be true to the way we've really started to do things over the last couple years."

They also believe having a centrally located campus will help all students easily access the building. Many sites were under consideration for the advanced technology center, including the Barber Colman site on Rockford's West Side.